Stockholm Academic’s Execution in Iran ‘Could Happen Any Time’

Attempts to persuade the Iranian judiciary to review the death sentence handed to Ahmadreza Djalali for allegedly spying on behalf of Israel have failed and his sentence is now “definitive” and could happen at any point, his lawyer has said as quoted by The New Arab.

The Iranian emergency medicine specialist, who is resident in Sweden, was arrested in April 2016 in Iran and later charged with “spreading corruption on earth” by passing information on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear scientists to Mossad, Israel’s secret intelligence agency.

Tehran alleges Djalali is linked to the purported assassination of two Iranian nuclear scientists, killed by car bombs several years ago. The professor previously wrote a letter from prison, saying that he was being held solely because he refused to use his contacts within European academic institutions to spy for Iran.

“This time, the sentence is definitive. The death penalty was declared feasible, which means it can be carried out at any point,” Djalali’s lawyer Zouhaier Chichaoui stated on Sunday, denouncing once more the unjust nature of the legal process, according to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Djalali’s sentence was slammed by the UN, Amnesty International and Sweden’s foreign ministry who say that his trial was “grossly unfair” with physical and psychological torture used to extract a false confession, which was then aired on Iranian state TV.

Despite international protests and condemnation, Djalali’s sentence has been upheld by Iran’s supreme court. Djalali has since launched two appeals, both which have now been rejected. He is being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he has spent at least three months of his detention in solitary confinement.

“It is appalling that the Iranian authorities have deliberately denied Ahmadreza Djalali the right to a meaningful review of his conviction and sentence. The Iranian authorities must immediately quash Ahmadreza Djalali’s death sentence, and grant him the right to present a meaningful appeal against his conviction before the highest court. Failing to do so will be an irreversible injustice,” Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director, said of his sentence in December.

The Swedish branch of Amnesty International said it has not received information about the death sentence being confirmed.

“But we heard from Djalali’s wife on Friday that a decision would probably be announced tomorrow (Monday), and the lawyer wasn’t optimistic. This is in line with that,” Maja Åberg from Amnesty told news agency TT.

Amnesty had hoped the judgment against Djalali would be overruled, she said. The Swedish Foreign Ministry said it too had not received any information about the court’s decision.

Last week a further person was sentenced to six years in prison for spying in Iran, having allegedly sold information about the country’s nuclear energy program to the U.S. and EU, according to the Iranian legal authority. Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolotabadi claims the person met U.S. and EU agents on nine occasions and gave them information “about sanctions and nuclear matters” in exchange for money.

Between October 2016 and October 2017, 508 executions were carried out in Iran, with 32 people executed in public, according to Iranian human rights group HRANA. The group adds that of those executed, most were condemned to death during unfair trials without access to lawyers.

An unnamed individual was sentenced to six years in prison for allegedly leaking information on Iran’s nuclear programme to the U.S. and a European country, it was reported on Sunday.